Wolf photo by Brian Hay

Wolf photo by Brian Hay

2020 hunting season review and wildlife update: Part III

This is Part III of a three-part series by F.J. Hurtak, looking at the issues of the 2020 hunting and wildlife management season

Odds and Ends

As you can see, there is much common ground shared by a variety of individuals and groups. What we need to have happen in the province concerning wildlife is very well documented now, and makes a lot of sense. I do think the most difficult obstacle for the “Together for Wildlife Management Plan” could be finding enough people in government with the foresight, dedication and courage to actually implement it. There are a lot of great people involved to take up the challenge, so here’s hoping! Finally, here are a couple more things I’m sure you will be more than interested in.

Of note is that Columbia Valley MLA Doug Clovechok has been working on a plan with many different groups to try and mitigate mortality rates caused by vehicles on Bighorn sheep along the highway in the Radium area. Some of the options that are being considered are possible underpasses, overpasses, fencing, signing, and better law enforcement on speeding limits. In the past, cougar predation also has been a factor in the decline of Bighorn herds in that region. Bighorn sheep are an iconic species and it would be tragic to see them completely disappear in the Columbia Valley, or anywhere in B.C. for that matter.

On another front, testing continued this year for signs of Chronic Wasting Disease on ungulates in the East Kootenay. Here is all the current information I received from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development. To date, all testing so far has been negative which is great news. The BC Wildlife Health Program has been testing free-ranging deer, elk, moose and caribou for CWD province wide, with a focus in the highest-risk regions of the Kootenay and Peace Regions. So far, in 2020, 653 animals from the Kootenay region and 89 animals from the Peace region have all tested negative for CWD. Additional tests are pending.

The risk of CWD continues to increase as there have been cases diagnosed close to our borders. CWD surveillance and testing will continue into the future to enable detection as soon as possible. Hunters should know that every sample that they contribute adds to the Management teams knowledge, but more samples are needed to help assess with early detection. CWD is extremely difficult to manage, or control, but the critical information derived from testing, better informs the team, on CWD status and response.

The Surveillance and Response Plan for CWD in BC is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/chronicwastingdisease. Here it outlines what proposed initial response activities will be, should a positive diagnosis be confirmed in an animal from B.C., but for now, prevention and knowledge are sited as the best strategies.

The BC Wildlife Health program also told me they wish to sincerely thank hunters, businesses, and their many partners for the continued support. Their contributions are vital to understanding and protecting wildlife health in B.C.

Well, there is a lot of information in this article to digest and ponder that is for certain. I hope that you and yours have a great New Year and that we will all be able to get back to some level of normalcy as early as possible in 2021. 2020, due to the pandemic, has truly been a year to forget, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will get through it.

Looking forward to seeing you in the field!